Representatives from the Fundamental Rights and Freedoms Platform (TEHÖP), a body that brings together several Turkish NGOs, gathered on Tuesday in the Fatih district of İstanbul to protest the ruling by Turkey's top court to take up a case for closing the governing AK Party.
“The case against the ruling party is a judicial coup. Turkey has become a wasteland of political parties banned by the Constitutional Court. Parliament should immediately take the necessary steps to prevent party closures in Turkey,” said one TEHÖP representative.
Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalçınkaya appealed to the Constitutional Court on March 14, demanding that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AK Party be shut down on the grounds that it has become a hotbed of anti-secular activities. He also requested a ban on 71 of the AK Party’s high-level officials from engaging in politics for five years, including President Abdullah Gül and Erdoğan.
Turkey’s top court announced on Monday that it will hear Yalçınkaya’s appeal to close down the governing AK Party after a unanimous vote and that the decision on whether Gül should be included in the trial was made in a vote of seven to four in favor of his inclusion.
Lawyers’ Association Chairman Kamil Uğur Yaralı, who delivered a speech on behalf of TEHÖP, said the popular will in Turkey has been under pressure due to memoranda and coup d’états that have been repeated every 10 years.
“Now, they are trying to disband the AK Party, which received almost half of the vote in last year’s general elections, on the grounds that it has become a focal point of anti-secular activities. Are we witnessing a judicial memorandum?” he asked.
Noting that Turkey should immediately return to its real agenda and find permanent solutions to its problems, Yaralı maintained that the constitutional order, which is legitimized by the popular will, expects the judicial bodies to fulfill the requirements of the law without intervening in the acts of legislative and executive bodies.
Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (MAZLUM-DER) İstanbul Provincial Chairman Ayhan Küçük emphasized Turkey’s need for a new and civilian constitution that reflects the will of the nation.
“The necessary arrangements should immediately be made in the new constitution, which may save the public will from being undermined. Parliament should introduce sound solutions to Turkey’s problems and take the necessary actions against those who have made our country waste time with artificial agendas,” he said.
Freedom Association (Özgür-Der) Chairman Hülya Şekercioğlu stated that the closure case filed against the AK Party was an effort to make the public bow before the judicial oligarchy.
Şekercioğlu, in a written statement sent to Today’s Zaman yesterday, said Yalçınkaya’s indictment was far from being a legal document.
“The indictment is a typical authoritarian manifesto. The Constitutional Court explicitly continued to guard an understanding of doctrinal law and secularism. Some circles are trying to execute a political party that swept almost half of the vote in last summer’s general elections. Moreover, they refer to some remarks and assumed intentions of AK Party officials as evidence of this party’s so-called anti-secular activities. It is an undeniable reality that we are currently facing despotism,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Association (İHD) Chairman Hüsnü Öndül said in a written statement that his association demands freedom and human rights for everyone in Turkey.
“We want comprehensive human rights and freedom for everyone. We demand freedom not only for the political parties which face closure cases but also for İlhan Selçuk, Doğu Perinçek and Kemal Alemdaroğlu,” read the statement.
Workers’ Party (İP) Chairman Perinçek, Cumhuriyet daily chief columnist Selçuk and former İstanbul University Rector Alemdaroğlu were detained in late March as part of an investigation into a criminal network that calls itself Ergenekon.
“The problem is Turkey’s judicial system isn’t rooted in human rights and the principles of a democratic state governed by the rule of law. One cannot mention the protection of human rights in countries where the principle of rule of law has not been in practice,” noted the statement.